College Basketball Predictions: Tennessee Volunteers vs. Duke Blue Devils

Tennessee Volunteers vs. No. 6 Duke Blue Devils
Monday, 11/21/11, 5:30 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Duke -11
Current Betting Line:  Duke -11
Opening Total:  144.5
Current Total:  144.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Duke Blue Devils have never lost in the Maui Invitational

Tennessee has opened its season with a pair of home victories that includes an 85-62 win as 21.5-point home favorites against Louisiana-Monroe last time out.  The schedule gets dramatically tougher in this contest against the No. 6 team in the country, as the program is 4-10 all-time when facing off versus such an opponent.  It’s likely that Duke’s ranking will improve on Monday before this game is actually played.  The Volunteers roster features five returning lettermen and five scholarship newcomers.  Tennessee is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games versus non-conference foes.

The Volunteers have begun their first season under head coach Cuonzo Martin, who owns a 9-5 record in neutral-site games.  He will certainly be challenged with this year’s schedule the way its currently set up, potentially facing at least 11 teams that will be ranked among the top 20 in the nation.  In just the last four seasons, Tennessee is 6-5 against ranked opponents.  Sophomore guard Trae Golden is the leader offensively, scoring 23.0 points per game and 10 assists.

Duke will put its perfect 13-0 record on the line in the Maui Invitational and comes in off an impressive 82-69 win over Davidson as 17.5-point home favorites.  The Blue Devils have gone over the total in all four games this year, averaging 82.2 points per game and shooting 51 percent from the floor.  This particular series is tied, 7-7, with 13 of the games being played before the Mike Krzyzewski era in Durham.  Duke has tallied a solid 21-8 record against Southeastern Conference opponents under his direction.  It’s important to note that the team is 1-4 ATS versus SEC foes.

The Blue Devils haven’t played such an opponent since dropping a 62-54 contest to the LSU Tigers in the Sweet 16 of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.  Duke is 12-0 all-time when playing inside the Lahaina Civic Center, with nine of the victories coming by 10 or more points.  The program is also a dominating 31-2 in neutral-site contests since the start of the 2008-09 campaign.  Duke is shooting 46.4 percent from beyond the arc and Seth Curry has been the most steady scorer, averaging a team-high 15.8 points per game.

Bettor will likely back the Blue Devils due to their dominance in this event, while the Volunteers are 0-3-1 ATS when playing against Atlantic Coast Conference teams.

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